Summer 2014 is really proving to be a doozy. As if being on the brink of WW3 was not enough, you can now add disease to the list of summer dangers. The current outbreak of ebola makes H1N1 and Sars virus of summers past look like kids play.
Ebola is some seriously dangerous shit and its making health officials in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong nervous enough to begin quarantining airline passengers from West Africa who have shown symptoms of the disease.
First off, what is Ebola Virus:
The fast-acting Ebola virus, which first appeared in 1976, produces a violent hemorrhagic fever that leads to internal and external bleeding. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, and tissues of infected people or animals.
Dr. Jay Keystone, who works in the tropical diseases unit of Toronto General Hospital provides some more insight…
How does a person contract Ebola?
“They usually acquire it from close contact with blood and body fluids, and that means someone coughs in your face, you handle a body or you look after someone and don’t have ideal infection-control methods. You get the virus on your hands, you touch your nose, your mouth.”
What symptoms do Ebola patients show?
“It looks like the flu: fever, headache, sore throat, muscle aches and pains. That’s in the first few days. And then vomiting, diarrhea and the really serious part of the illness — that is the hemorrhage part — really doesn’t occur until toward the end of the first week.”
USA Today reports:
The outbreak — the largest in history — has spread across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and killed at least 672 people, according to the World Health Organization. The disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment. It has a fatality rate of at least 60%.
In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that a man who flew into Birmingham airport recently from Nigeria via Paris was clear of the virus despite saying he felt feverish.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who chaired an emergency meeting Wednesday on Ebola with health experts, scientists and other ministers, said “the issue is about the possibility of somebody who has contracted the disease in Africa getting sick here.”
American and Chinese citizens have also been affected by the virus…
Two American medical missionaries working with Ebola patients in Liberia have been diagnosed with the virus.
Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, is medical director of the Ebola care center run by Samaritan’s Purse on the outskirts of the Liberian capital of Monrovia, and Nancy Writebol had been disinfecting doctors and nurses working with Ebola patients.
A statement by the North Carolina-based group said both showed “slight improvement” in the past 24 hours but remain in serious condition.
The first American fatality from this outbreak was Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old consultant with the Liberian Ministry of Finance, who collapsed upon arrival in Lagos, Nigeria, last week and died Friday in a hospital while under quarantine.
In Hong Kong, China’ state-run media group CCTV News reported that a female patient with suspected Ebola symptoms had been isolated for treatment in the city. However, the South China Morning Post reported that the woman who had been on vacation in Kenya subsequently tested negative for the disease.
WHO says the risk of travelers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva.
The way this summer is shaping up, hanging out at home and avoiding travel is looking better everyday.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.